An inky distraction

Woe to the Maori pupil in Louisiana's St. John the Baptist Parish, the school board of which is embroiled in a bit of a tattoo controversy. It all began when Principal Patricia Triche banned (visible) tattoos in her high school, East St. John. Superintendent Courtney Millet supported Triche's decision, but board member Patrick Sanders had concerns: 1) Triche did not inform the board of her decision, 2) parents are calling him to complain about the new rule, and 3) the regulation may violate students' rights. Then fellow board member Albert "Ali" Burl III piled on by noting that enforcement of the tattoo ban at East St. John would be altogether impossible (he did not explain why). But Millet was steadfast. Tattoos are signs of risky behavior, she said, and tattooed persons could contract serious blood-borne diseases. Schools, therefore, should not promote body art. But Burl chimed in again and said Millet shouldn't be making rules for public schools when her children attend private schools (again, he failed to explain his logic). And so it went. Would that the St. John the Baptist Parish district spent such energy debating how to raise student achievement!

"School board can't agree on student tattoos," by Sandra Barbier, New Orleans Times Picayune, August 22, 2008

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